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St. Petersburg Police have arrested a man they say shot and killed a Florida mother as she held her 1-year-old child in her arms.
Tyron Jackasal, 20, is now facing a second-degree murder charge in the death of K’Mia Simmons, who was killed March 30 while riding in a car with her two children, police said in a statement.
Chief Anthony Holloway said in an earlier press conference that Simmons had been the passenger in the vehicle and was holding her 1-year-old daughter in her lap as her 2-year-old girl sat in the backseat of the vehicle when another driver pulled up and started firing into the car.
Holloway said investigators believe the shooter had been targeting Simmons' boyfriend, who had been the driver of the car. Local station WTVT identified her boyfriend as Praise Lovett Jr.
“She was not the intended target but that bullet struck and killed her, so now those two children do not have a mother, that family does not have a sister, aunt, whatever you want to say, daughter, she’s gone,” Holloway said.
The bullets “barely missed” her 2-year-old daughter.
“The bullet went right through the booster seat,” Holloway said, adding that the only reason the child was still alive was because of her position in the seat.
Holloway described the shooting as an “ambush” after Lovett’s vehicle had pulled up to either a red light or stop sign. While they were sitting at the intersection, another driver—now identified by authorities as Jackasal—got out and began to fire into the car.
It’s not clear how authorities identified Jackasal as the suspected shooter, but they said he was already in custody for a robbery at the time of the arrest.
The St. Petersburg Police did not immediately respond to Oxygen.com’s request for additional details about how they have linked Jackasal to the shooting.
After the attack, Lovett reportedly drove the children to a family member’s house and then took off. Simmons’ family has publicly criticized him for how he responded after the deadly shooting.
“You’re not a man,” her sister Lashawn Lester said in a press conference. “You’re a coward because any real man you wouldn’t have left my sister to die on the streets.”
Simmons’ mother, Linda Simmons, said her daughter was in college to become a nurse and dreamed of one day becoming a gynecologist.
“When all of that took place, she was a real mom,” Linda Simmons said. “She covered her baby with her body to make sure nothing happened to that baby.”
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